IHS Inc., the leading global source of critical information and insight, has released a report stating that Egypt is the world’s fourth-largest defense importers. Egypt’s spending on military imports reached US$2.268 billion in 2015.
According to the Global Defense Trade Report, Global defense trade reached a record-breaking $65 billion in 2015. The report examines trends in the global defense market across 65 countries. The Middle East was the largest importing region, with $21.6 billion in deliveries of defense equipment. Saudi Arabia, which has been carrying out air strikes in Yemen and participated in a US-led coalition against the Islamic State, was at the top of the list with US$9.325 billion in imports, followed by India, Australia ,and Egypt.
Despite Egypt’s economic deterioration, but Egypt seeks to accelerate its arms and defense system. Egypt is the largest US military aid receptor after Israel with US$1.3 billion in annual military aid. Moreover, Egypt has also made many crucial arms purchases from other countries, including Russia, France, and Germany since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reached power by a military coup in 2013. The Egyptian-French agreement in 2015 is the most high-profile deals to purchase 5.2 billion euros’ worth of military equipment, including 24 Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate, and a contract with Russian firm Rosoboronexport to buy 46 attack helicopters. Egypt’s entire defense budget is classified as a state secret and no details on defense spending are available. Even basic information unrelated to defense is classified on the grounds of national security. The defense budget estimated to be around $4.4 billion according to the Transparency International. In the same context, industry intelligence firm BMI Research estimated defense spending at US$5.1 billion in 2015, predicting it would exceed US$5.4 billion in 2016 and US$6.5 billion in 2020.
Moreover, the value of arms transfers to Egypt in 2015 reached US$1.475 billion in 2015, compared to US$686 million in 2010 or US$368 million in 2014 as reported by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks transactions based on production costs rather than purchase prices.
Many International organizations have raised concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability for military spending in Egypt. According to the Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index, Egypt was placed in Band F — the highest risk category for corruption in the defense and security sector — in Transparency International’s 2015. Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index stated that the Egyptian military is estimated to control a significant portion of the country’s economy, with no public or parliamentary scrutiny of these activities. In June 2015, the Minister of Defense issued decree number 68 to exempt military facilities from real estate tax, including clubs and hotels. The profit received from these revenue streams is also not subject to any review. The anti-corruption organization called Egypt for implementing urgent reforms, and it recommended that the government explicitly outlaw private enterprises by defense and security institutions and personnel, overseen by a robust and independent enforcement agency, with strong sanctions in place for offender